Make Your Own Vacuum Filter

A vacuum on wood.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-20
What You'll Need
Coffee filters
What You'll Need
Coffee filters

While your vacuum cleaner must have a vacuum bag, a motor, a hose, and a strong agitator brush, without a good vacuum filter you will just be circulating the dust and allergens back into the room.

Vacuum filters have a big job to do. They trap microscopic particles that can cause asthma attacks and allergic reactions. Vacuum filters also work to keep the inside of the vacuum clean. If dirt builds up inside the exhaust area, it will cause the vacuum to malfunction and need repair.

HEPA filters are the best type of filter as they trap almost 100 percent of the particles. In addition, you can buy allergen filters and micron filters that target a specific menace. When your filter becomes dirty, or clogged, and you don't have a replacement on hand, you can make a filter to work in its place until you can purchase one. Here is how to make your own vacuum filter.

Step 1 - Cut Sponge to Fit

First, you must cut the sponge to fit on the side compartment. An upright vacuum cleaner has two different filters. The first one is inside the vacuum area where the dirt canister is. The second is on the side where the air exhaust is. This second one is where the sponge goes.

To open this compartment find the small tab on the side and give it a little pull to open the louvered door. Take the filter out that is already there and set it on a sponge. Trace around it with a marker. Cut out the outline with the scissors. Once it is cut out you can place the sponge into the filter compartment and close the door. It is not perfect, but it will work until you can replace it.

Step 2 - Wrap with Coffee Filters

A woman uses a vacuum.

Coffee filters can be employed for more uses than just straining coffee. You can also use them for other general filtering purposes. Inside the vacuum cleaner another vacuum filter sits on top of the dirt canister wrapped with a foam sleeve. If this is damaged, you can easily replace it by wrapping some coffee filters around it. Attach the coffee filters with rubber bands. It should work well until you can get another filter.

Step 3 - Drape Cheesecloth

You can also try using cheesecloth. While it will stop a lot of dust, the tiny microns may still escape. Just wrap the filter the same way you did with the coffee filters.

Make Your Own Vacuum Filter FAQ

Can you make a homemade filter?

Making a homemade filter is not difficult and it's likely you have all the materials on hand to make one at any time. Get a clean plastic bottle and remove the lid.

Push several balls of cotton, 10 or more, through the opening and into the bottle. Cover the top of the bottle with a paper towel and secure it tightly with a rubber band.

You don't want this to be particularly taunt. The paper towel covering the bottle should have some give to it.

The bottle can be secured to the section exit inside the vacuum, the hole through which debris collected by the vacuum is pushed out into the bag or cylinder.

Can you just wash a vacuum filter?

Vacuum filters can be rinsed out with plain water but it is not recommended. Most vacuum filters are designed to be disposable and are not made for reuse.

Paper filters cannot and should not be rinsed out with water, because the filters will disintegrate and become easily damaged. Wet paper is very weak.

What can I use as a filter if I don't have one?

Standard household items, such as paper towels, can be used as a homemade filter. Cotton balls and thin pieces of fabric will also work.

What happens if you don't have a filter?

Without a filter, debris does not get trapped before it enters the vacuum. Little bits of dirt and debris, hair, and other junk on the floor will end up either in the vacuum or back on the floor.

How do you naturally filter air dust?

Indoor plants have been extolled for their ability to naturally filter air for many decades. Plants literally take in carbon dioxide and release clean oxygen into the air, improving your air quality.

Air purifiers, salt lamps, and beeswax candles have also been used as air cleaners, along with essential oil diffusers.

Keeping your HVAC system well-maintained and changing filters regularly is one of the best ways to keep air clean and healthy, as a clogged filter will compromise air quality until it is changed. It is recommended that you change your air filter about once a month.